tv The News Hour With Jim Lehrer PBS October 26, 2009 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
>> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. on the newshour this monday, the lead story: helicopter crashes in afghanistan kill 14 americans. then, the other news of the day, including the deadly bombings in iraq. ray suarez gets the latest from jane arraf in baghdad. then margaret warner interviews senator john kerry about afghanistan and more. >> putting young people in harm away, you owe them a strategy that is equal to their sacrifice. >> lehrer: gwen ifill gets a tale of escape from the taliban from "new york times" reporter david rohde. betty ann bowser tells the stories of two families coping with the swine flu. >> lehrer: and jeffrey brown has a conversation with michael
chabon about his new book, "manhood for amateurs." major funding for the newshour with jim lehrer is provided by: >> what the world needs now is energy. the energy to get the economy humming again. the energy to tackle challenges like climate change. what if that energy came from an energy company? every day, chevron invests $62 million in people, in ideas-- seeking, teaching, building. fueling growth around the world to move us all ahead. this is the power of human energy. chevron.
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>> lehrer: this was the deadliest day for american forces in afghanistan in more than four years. at least 14 u.s. troops and civilians were killed in separate air crashes. it came as president obama wrestled again with future troop commitments, and as afghan president karzai rejected a rival's demand. newshour correspondent kwame holman has our lead story report. . >> all of the day's losses involved helicopters, used heavily by the u.s. military to ferry forces across afghanistan's mountainous terrain. three helicopters went down in two separate incidents across the country. one crashed in the west. seven u.s. troops and three agents of the u.s. drug enforcement administration were killed. and in the south, two u.s. marine helicopters collided in flight. four american troops were killed there. >> in both of these
incidents we do not believe that enemy action was responsible for that. we're still looking into it to see what actually happened but we don't believe that it was due to any enemy fire. in western afghanistan the helicopter was just departing an operation where they were going in to look for an insurgent that had been working with narcotics trade. we actually got into a fairly serious fire fight in that particular village and we killed 14 of the enemy fighters before our forces went to the helicopters to fly away. >> a spokesman for the taliban disputed that version of events. he claimed insurgents shot down an american helicopter in the northwest. it was unclear if he referred to the same incident in that region reported by the u.s. military. with today's deaths and two over the weekend, at least 47 americans have been killed if afghanistan so far in october. well over 400 have died this year. the highest toll of the
entire war. attacks on afghans also continued to grow. today a provision governor in the east survived an assassination attempt. gunmen fired automatic weapons at his convoy in jill all bad. amid the violence president obama called a high level meeting to discuss sending more u.s. troops. later he traveled to the naval air station in jacksonville, florida, and made a promise to the navy and marine corps audience. >> i will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm away. i won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary. and if it is necessary, we will back you up to the hilt. >> reporter: in fact, "the washington post" reported pentagon officials oversaw a secret wargame this month, testing different deployments and the possible outcome.
in a washington speech democratic senator john kerry warned a large scale u.s. pullout could trigger civil war but he also balked at a major build up that general mcchrystal wants. >> he understands conductsing a counterinsurgency in a limited geographic area. but i believe his current plan reachs too far, too fast. we do not yet have the critical guarantees of governance and of development capacity. the other two legs of counterinsurgency. >> reporter: the u.s. also faced new protests in kabul after several nato soldiers allegedly burned a copy of the koran last week. hundreds of students chanted "death to america" and burned an effigy of president obama. and there were growing political tensions ahead of the presidential runoff set for november 7th. today abdullah abdullah,
president karzai's chief rival, charged the country's election official is biased and must be removed. >> -- unfortunately for he himself, in order to be -- by the people of afghanistan, as an independent body. >> reporter: abdullah did not rule out boycotting the runoff if his demand goes unmet but in a statement karzai refused to sack the election chief saying he has to the done anything illegal. >> lehrer: we'll have more on afghanistan including >> lehrer: we'll have more on afghanistan, including our interview with senator kerry, later in the program. in other news today, iraqi troops ramped up security across baghdad, a day after two suicide truck bombings killed at least 155 people. some 500 people were wounded. the blasts targeted the justice ministry and the provincial government's headquarters, located near the fortified green zone.
by today, authorities had arrested at least 76 people. for more, ray suarez talked earlier today with jane arraf, iraq correspondent for the "christian science monitor" and mideast regional editor for global post. . >> suarez: jane arraf, welcome. what's the latest today on the attacks? has the death toll continued to rise? >> it has. the death toll looks like it's going past about 150, ray, and hundreds more wounded. and more than that, a lot of questions being raised as to how this actually could have happened just two months after the horrific bombing of the bombing of the finance and foreign ministry. yesterday at the sites there were scenes of devastation. people soning, carrying away wounded relatives, trying to find their relatives. and pretty much chaos for the first little while. the streets were flooded. rescue workers were trying to wade through bystanders. it really was one of the
most horrific scenes many of us have seen in quite a long time. we kind of thought this was over with and now it seems to have started again and that is definitely the feeling that you feel on the streets, that things could very much get worse again. >> suarez: you mentioned that august attack. at the time weren't measures put in place to make this kind of operation less likely in baghdad? >> absolutely. that august attack which killed at least 100 people with an ear i lee similar attack. a -- early similar attract, a truck packed with explosives, a suicide attack at that. it was a wake-up call and it was said to have been a systemic failure of security. the iraqi government responded by firing senior iraqi security officials. it said it put new measures in place. i spoke with a senior american official today who said, indeed, they had put measures in place. but it has not prevented these two bombings which, again, were eerily similar. these were trucking traveling streets where no
trucks are supposed to be in daytime. they apparently went through check points where they should have been checked but weren't. and they managed to explode in one of the busiest times of the day, in one of the most packed places in baghdad, killing government workers as well as passersby, including children. >> suarez: did baghdadis head back into that neighborhood today to work, to shop, just to. see the aftereffect? >> that neighborhood really is a collection of government ministries across a very busy road. and surrounding it are sort of soviet-style apartment buildings. so it is quite densely packed. there is not a lot of commercial activity in that immediate vicinity it isn't too far away from the green zone. now no one can possibly work there for the next little while. if you look at these buildings, the tops have been sheered away, basically, you can see all the way inside and you can see the collapsed roofs, the collapsed ceilings, rather, floors, and jumbled furniture, the tangled metal. there is no one that is going to be working in there for quite a long time.
having said that, this is a city as you know that is used to devastation and people aren't afraid to go out and go shopping. they are withing shopping in different areas. they very much expect this to occur ahead of the elections. and a lot of people are bracing for even worse. >> suarez: with those electionlooming was it the government of nouri al-maliki that was the real target? >> it seems to be that any government would have been a target. perhaps maliki who has a shi'a-led government is a bit more of a target. this does have the hallmarks of an al qaeda and iraq attack by the nature of the types of explosives here, the sophistication of the attack and the fact that they were suicide bombers. but really what it points to as 9 august 19th bombs pointed to is an attack basically on the heart of iraqi institutions, a message that no one in iraq is safe. that the government can't protect them. that the institutions cannot function. and that they can't rely on their own security forces. and that could have been
directed at any government headed by anyone. really it appears to be aimed at showing that any government at all is ineffectual or just can't keep its people safe. >> you said iraqis on the street told you they they believe the partys were responsible, why would they say that. >> absolutely. they always need someone to blame. and certainly when something this horrific happens, they do cast a very wide net of blame. now with iraqi politicians it's almost immediately blaming al qaeda and ba'athists. with the iraqis on the street that i talked to at the site of the bombing shortly after the bombing, they were saying they believed that this was a ploy to get political power, that actually political parties were behind it because they wanted to destabilize other political parties. and they were fighting for seats in the election. people firmly believe this. some of them believe that the united states is behind these bombings. everyone believes that there is someone responsible for this. there are very few people who believe that it could
simply be extremists, that it could be people act on their own. essentially anyone you talk to at the site of these bombings believes that there is a wider network there. in many cases, they are pointing at the elections and saying this is all politically motivated. >> suarez: and from baghdad jane arraf of the christian science monitor, thanks for being with us. >> thank you so much. >> lehrer: in pakistan today, 11 iranians were arrested for illegally entering the country. it happened near pakistan's southwest border with iran. pakistani officials said several of the men belonged to iran's elite revolutionary guard. 15 members of the guard died last week in a suicide bombing in iran. the iranians blamed militants backed by pakistani intelligence. former bosnian serb leader radovan karadzic boycotted the opening day of his war crimes trial. the tribunal at the hague in the netherlands adjourned after just 15 minutes. we have a report from robert moore of independent television news.
>> this was meant to be their day. after 14 years of waiting for justice, the grieving mothers of bosnia arrived at the court expecting to see radovan karadzic. they were to be cruelly disappointed yet again. the man accused of genocide refused to leave his cell. an empty seat, his latest act of defines at the u.n.. the judge promised the trial would go ahead tomorrow, even without the defendant. >> we request mr. karadzic to attend so that the trial is not further obstructed. >> reporter: karadzic is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. at the core of the prosecution case is the claim that he masterminded the 44 month siege of sarajevo with his random shelling and terrifying sniper fire. he is also accused of ordering the massacre in which 8,000 bosnian men and
boys were captured, tortured and shot. >> the defendant didn't bother showing up today. what do we know about the defense strategy. in the back streets of belgrade, i tracked down the brother of radovan karadzic, one of his most trusted advisors. >> what is being blamed on us, what's being said about srebotnjak -- did did not happen. >> are you denying that he had command responsibility? >> radovan is clear on this. as soon as the tragic war started, he issued orders, written instructions that our soldiers should behave. so responsibility for all actions lay with unit command. back at the court the mothers expressed outrage that karadzic refused to attend. and that the judges agreed to a day's delay.
>> lehrer: karadzic was arrested in belgrade in july of last year, after 13 years on the run. the u.s. senate will debate a health care reform bill that includes a government-run public option. majority leader harry reid announced it today, and he said states get to choose whether to take part. >> the national poll show a wide majority of americans support the public option. i think it's important that the matter that we work on in the senate have a public option in it. and the public option with an opt-out is one that is fair and distinct. in fact f they don't want to be part of the public option, to get out >> lehrer: the idea of a public option has been gaining momentum in recent days, but reid would not say if he has the 60 votes needed to get past any filibuster. the story of the northwest airlines plane that mistakenly flew past minneapolis took a new turn today. the national transportation safety board quoted the pilots as saying they had laptop computers in the cockpit.
that's a violation of company policy. richard cole and timothy cheney said they were checking their work schedules. they denied they had fallen asleep. wall street pulled back today, in part over fears that stocks have risen too far, too fast. the dow jones industrial average lost 104 points to close below 9868. the nasdaq fell more than 12 points to close at 2141. and the price of oil dropped back in new york trading, as the dollar gained strength. and still to come on the newshour tonight, a journalist held hostage; two families cope with swine flu; and author michael chabon. that follows our newsmaker interview with senate foreign relations committee chairman john kerry. he just returned from afghanistan, where he helped persuade president karzai to accept a runoff election. margaret warner spoke to kerry
today after he laid out his recommendations on afghanistan. . senator kerry thanks for joining us. you said in your speech today that general mcchrystal's plan goes too far, too fast. are you talking about the troop levels or his basic overall strategy of counterinsurgency? >> the breadth of the reach of the counterinsurgency, he wants to start with and the number of troops to do it immediately. that doesn't mean you might not get there, ultimately, margaret. but i think you've got to show people like me and others that we have the civilian capacity to come in under -- underneath those troops and the governance that's going to allow us to hold on and the afghan army members who will be in there with you so it's not an american face, it's an afghan movement immediately. i think those three ingredients are critical. and we just don't have that
sufficiently there to say oh, boy, let's just go deploy this number of troops now. >> warner: are you suggesting to the president that he simply defer a decision on additional troops? >> no, i think the president could conceivably make the decision with -- and in many ways he could put in, he could put in some troops, a lot of troops. codo many number of options. but i'm trying to suggest that the standard that you use before you put them out in to combat, an clear an area, to start to hold an area and actually implement the counterinsurgency component itself, i think you need those ingreat yents are you going to fail. >> warner: but the ingredients you late out, some kind of effective local and national governance. afghan security forces, a much better skoord natured u.s. civilian effort, those are big projects, aren't they? >> they don't have to be that enormous, no. i don't agree with that. for instance, the local governance. you've got to identify a district governor or a province governor who knows
who the players are and have authority in a tribe or authority in a particular community. and that they are willing to be with you so that if, indeed, you send your troops in there to clear the bad guys out, those guys will have local authority to begin to help to distribute the services and do the things you need to do, rather than an american face, an american soldier trying to translate to people through a translator, this is why we are here and this is what we are doing. you want an afghan face on that. they've got to invest in this. on the -- on the -- on the civilian piece of what you need to come in with underneath there. to some degree the military can take care of part of that. they can use certain funding that we have available, pay people, simply, to give up their guns and come over. but you got to pretty quickly have something for them to do. you've got to pretty quickly begin to engage them in, you know, opening up some kind of commerce and the other kinds of things you need to have sustainability. >> warner: let me see if i
understand though, what you are suggest that president obama should do right now. he's got a pending troop request for, if reports are to be believed -- believed, anywhere from 10 to 40 or way more, thousands of troops. in the next three to four weeks, and you got an afghan election coming up. how you are suggesting the president call i brat his response to that -- calibrate his response to that request? >> i very respect glooe -- respectfully would suggest to him that they make the kinds of judgements that i laid out in the speech i gave today, about how much they feel they can commit at this moment in the relative weight of what we need to do in pakistan versus what we need to do in afghanistan, versus what we need to do, potentially, with iran w north korea, with, you know, other -- you know, other challenges in the world, to balance all of that. and then specifically define what -- what -- what is it that would have the most
impact on advancing our efforts in afghanistan that we can accomplish in the -- in the least costly, most effective way to start with. see what works. prove that you can make that difference. and as you prove it, you can establish confidence not just in afghanistan, but here at home about further commitments. if you rush in with too many people too quickly, without having the support structure there that they need to make it sustainable, we're asking for the undermining of our own effort. and that's what i want to avoid. >> warner: so are you saying that if the benchmarks were met then you wouldn't have any problem with 40,000 additional troops? >> it depends again, as i said. i think the strategy is reaching a little too far, too fast. i want to see these done, the benchmarks met and the process put in place in a way that we can measure so we have confidence about where we are going in the future. i would rather not start with the 40.
i clearly believe we can do with less to begin with. and that we can be effective because we have so many troops we've just put in there. with triple the numbers of troops already and we need to demand more from some of our allies. i do not want this to become such a significantly american effort. and we have a right to expect more from those nato countries that just signed up to this. >> warner: and how do you think the upcoming afghan election should play into that in terms of for the president, both the way it's conducted and the outcome? >> well, obviously we've got to have a government with legitimacy. i means that's very critical. and that's one of the things that i thought was so important in the work we did, you know, a week or so ago, which was to try to make sure we had the opportunity to have that government. because if you didn't, you are really in trouble to begin with. i think we'll come out of there with a government of legitimacy. and then the issue is, how do we get the reforms in
place, rapidly enough, to begin to give people an assurance that business is going to be different than afghanistan. >> do you think that the president should use the troop request in a way as leverage with whether it's karzai or abdullah abdullah to extract certain commitments? >> should use the request. >> well, no --. >> i think the president should absolutely leverage the significance of america's participation and what it means to the president and to afghanistan to achieve a level of sustainability to the effort, of course, yes. i think he has every night in the world to anticipate that our commitment to do something is going to get their commitment to do something. if you can't do that, that's the basics of diplomacy and friendship, we're in trouble. >> you said that you believe based on your many, many hours of president karzai, just ten days ago, a week ago, that he is ready to
make some changes if he is re-elected. you can tell us more? what did he actually say that led you to believe that he understands, he's got a corruption problem, a governance problem and he's ready to take some stuff political move. >> he understands absolutely that there are individuals who engage in you know different kinds of behavior that is contrary to his interests and to the interests of the country. i think he understands that. and the question now is identifying them and identifying you know good people who can take their place. that he has confidence in and is willing to make that change. part of the test here what the president, president obama ought to do will be president karzai's response to those needs. if president karzai tries to stiff the president and the united states on those kinds of changes, i would be very reluctant to say hey let's put more troops in here so we can get diddled around by these guys.
i think we have to be very smart. >> warner: this has been a bloody weekend both in iraq and afghanistan. i want to ask you whether you think there is anything that could happen in iraq that would slow down our withdrawal there to the point that it would affect the ability to ramp up in afghanistan if the president may or may not decide to do? >> could something happen, the answer is yes. do i expect it to happen, i think probably not. because i believe that the vast majority of the iraqis would like to see us go. and that is because i think the unsettled differences of iraq have parties on all sides that kind of feel they like to get to the next step which is fight being it among themselves without us. so i think that you are going to see some bombs go off. you will see some violence. there is not a lot that one can do to prevent one individual or two who want' to blow themselves up from hurting people. >> warner: and then of course in afghanistan today 14 americans that we know of
have already lost their lives today. american public opinion is already barely 50/50 on the question of our engagement there. how long do you think that the president with whatever strategy he decides can actually hold on to even that level of support as these casualties mount. >> only so long as we are actually demonstrating that we're having a positive impact and that we are making progress. which is one of the reasons why i defined the kinds of measurements had that i thought today ought to be laid out there. if you can't maximize, i mean if are you going to ask some kid to put his life on the line and are you going to do it and talk to those parents and look them in the eye if something herbl terrible happens, i think we all have an hoblgation to make certain we have maximized the ability to be successful. that means you've got to do things i talked about. can you try to stumble ahead without some of those things? yes. but does that empower you to
be able to say we did everything possible to prevent this? no. and i think we have an obligation to maximize success. when you send young people into harm away, you owe them a strategies that's equal to their sacrifice. and the only strategy i can see that is, is one that is comprehensive and tries to get the job done to the best of our ability. >> warner: and you don't think we have that now? >> i don't believe we have that. i think we have the capacity for it. but i don't think we actually have it in place and functioning today, no. >> warner: senator kerry, thank you. >> thank you. >> lehrer: next, to gwen ifill, for a reporter's story of captivity and escape in afghanistan and pakistan. >> ifill: nearly a year ago "new york times" reporter david rohde set out from kabul for what he thought was an interview with a local taliban commander. instead he was kidnapped. for the next seven months and ten days, rohde, his
driver and an afghan journalist he was working with were held prisoner. they were moved to a series of houses, first in afghanistan, then in the lawless tribal regions on the pakistan side of the border, where osama bin laden is thought to be hiding. their lives were repeatedly threatened. they got away only by staging their own escape. rohde told his story last week in a five-part series in "the new york times". he joins us now to share that story. welcome, david rohde. >> thank you. >> ifill: explain for us, for those people who didn't get to read your series, how exactly you came to be taken. >> we were invited to an interview by a taliban commander, as you said, a local commander just outside of kabul. he had given several prior interviews to other foreign journalists and not kidnapped them. we felt we could trust him. but from the beginning we were abducted. and then after only 1 week in afghanistan, we were brought into pakistan's tribal areas.
>> ifill: we all have many images in our minds about what it means to be held hostage, especially in wartime, especially in an unmarked region. how were you treated? >> i was treated very well, physically by the taliban. i was never beaten. i was given good food and even given bottled water. they brought me english language pakistani newspapers and they let me walk in a small yard each day. the problem was that their -- their demands in exchange for our release were extraordinarily high. they asked for $25 million in a ransom at different times and then as well as prisoners from guantanamo, cuba. and as time went by, we felt they were never going to release us. >> ifill: it also sounds, however, they there were always threats against you,an.
there are local taliban fighters inside southern and eastern afghanistan who are only fighting for local grievances, who really only want to drive western forces out of afghanistan. the people i was held with in pakistan's tribal areas where are much more hard line. these are young afghans and pakistani was spent a lot of time with foreign fighters, arabs and many uzbekhs who are aligned with al qaeda. the really hard line taliban emerging from this sort of folcom in the tribal areas their goal goes beyond afghanistan and pakistan. they want to work with al qaeda to establish a hard line islamic regime that would span the entire muslim world. >> ifill: you have been a reporter for some time, you have reported abroad for some time. you've even been held hostage before. how different was the lived
experience of your captiveity from the reporting and the reported experience of covering afghanistan and pakistan? >> i was surprised at the strength of the taliban ministate that exists in the tribal areas. you know, very senior taliban commanders as well as arab and uzbekh militants freer freely walk the treats -- streets of the towns where i was held. the guards were trained how to make bombs to kill afghan and western soliers. it really is a taliban ministate. what i saw in pakistan showed me that the emeriate. the taliban regime that the united states thought as it toppled in 2001, it still exists today. it simply moved a few miles east into pakistan's tribal areas. >> ifill: you write a lot about your suspicions at the time. role of the pakistani military and the military intelligence. share that with us. >> one of the most
remarkable experiences was that we were driven by senior taliban commander for three hours one day to shoot an outdoor video. it was one of several videos they sent out basically to my family, my newspaper, trying to extort more money. we ran into a pakistani army convoy on that drive. and basically our vehicle, the taliban vehicle, only the drive had to get out. under a truce agreement between the taliban and the pakistani military, none of the other passengers have to get out when an army convoy passes. and in fact this commander simply waved at the pakistani troops as they drove past. this to me showed that under this truce agreement, militants, foreign militant kos hide in the back of cars and not be discovered or kidnap victims like myself could be held there. and there does seem to be, you know, that members of pakistan's military intelligence service not all members of the pakistani army but at least the military intelligence service, the isi continues to at least turn a blind eye
towards the taliban. and some american officials say they even supply them with weapons and money. >> ifill: well, obviously, the a least the obvious question after seven months and ten days of captiveity, how did you escape? >> we, our capers lied to us repeatedly about, you know, that there was a deal in the offing. and the last story they gave us was preposterous. they said the united states was willing to exchange all the remaining afghan prisoners in guantanamo for us. we basically escaped at night. i had found a car tow rope beside some wrenches and motor oil when we moved into this house. i hid it under some old clothes and while our guards were asleep, we were able to use the rope to basically -- we climbed up on the roof of the house, used the rope to lower ourselves down an exterior wall that was about 15 feet high and from there we walked to a nearby pakistani militia base. and again the point being there are pakistanis and moderate pakistanis that are
against the taliban. the guards on that base let us inside and protected us. they saved our lives. so there are, you know, moderate pakistanis and members of the pakistani armed forces who are opposed to the taliban. >> ifill: and all three of you survived this experience. >> we did. and we are extraordinarily lucky and i would just say that more people are, you know, still more captives and more kidnap victims are still being held in the tribal areas. we're not disclosing their names or cases because we don't want to encourage the kidnappers from demanding even higher ransom but this problem continues. it is a taliban ministate. we were so lucky to escape and unfortunately others will not be so lucky. >> ifill: david rohde of the "new york times", thanks for sharing your story with us. >> thank you.
>> lehrer: now, a swine flu story. betty ann bowser of our health unit reports on two families coping with the illness. the unit is a partnership with the robert wood johnson foundation. >> she loves -- he loves puzzles. he attacks them with the enthusiasm of the normal robust five-year-old. so it seems almost unbelievable that just three weeks ago he lay near death in a washington d.c. hospital. taken down in a matter of days by h1n1 swine flu. >> i didn't think it won't -- it would happen to us, to our family. >> reporter: anna is his mother. she and her husband immigrated from honduras to the suburbs of washington ten years ago. >> we couldn't have children for ten years. so he is a miracle child. >> reporter: when the little boy got so sick so fast they were devastated. >> i don't know where he got it. i don't have any idea
because his brother got sick first. >> reporter: the boy's pediatrician put them on the anti-viral tamiflu, one of two drugs proven effective in treating the virus. three-year-old boy got better. but jaroy did not. >> he was getting worse. you know, he still had the fever. but it was constant but on saturday night he had a fever, nobody stop fever. we couldn't control the fever at all. he got to 104 fever. >> he started feeling a lot of with coughing. he can't breathe very well. he breathe this way. >> he was wheezing a lot. >> but very fast. >> reporter: jaroy is one of a small number of children for whom h1n1 has been a life-threatening illness. that's because he has an underlying condition, asthma. which made him vulnerable to a secondary infection viral pneumonia. the centers for disease control doesn't know exactly
how many kids like jaroy have been hospitalized for swine flu. but they estimate at least 95 have died since april. 11 of them in just the second week of october. >> he was very, very il. >> dr. david stockwell is the medical director of the pediatric incense -- intensive care unit at children's national medical centre in washington where jaroy was rushed four weeks ago in acute respiratory distress. >> having a lung disease like asthma can make an infection in the lungs be a little bit more severe than a child who is of the same age who doesn't have asthma. and he has been one of our sickest patients that we have had in the late few months that has had h1n1 influenza virus. >> reporter: for ten days special ventilators helped jaroy's lungs function and pumped oxygen into his blood. his parents were given hard
breaking odds. >> they give us only 30%. >> a chance. >> reporter: 30% chance. >> chance for maybe he can survive. >> reporter: were you ever at a point where you thought that you were going to lose him. >> yes, yes. >> reporter: things got so bad at one point, the doctors were about to take drastic measures. >> he was sick enough that we were even entertaining a method called ecmo which is the ability to support the heart and lungs by taking blood out of the body and having a machine act as a heart and lung machine outside of the body to support him. we had that ready to go, to support him. and luckily we were able to treat him successfully to where we did not need to use that. and his disease peaked. he started to get better. >> reporter: doctors at children say most of the h1n1 patients in the hospital haven't been as sick as jaroy. and in fact, many cases have
been no worse than what they see in a normal flu season. >> since the middle of september, we have seen the rebound of h1n1 influenza virus come into the hospital. it escalated fairly rapidly. it seems to have been hovering in the last few weeks for around 20 patients, maybe a few more, few less. but like we talked about the severity of the illness does not seem to be any different than the typical standard influenza season. >> reporter: what troubles him, though, is the h1n1's ability to attack the lungs. even in normally healthy kids. >> they just said it's bad luck. >> reporter: tracy expected her eight-year-old kay-lee would bounce back after coming down with h1n1 a few weeks ago. >> very lively and perky and that has been gone for the past week. we knew she wasn't make anything improvement. she really hasn't eaten or drank anything in about 10 to 11 days. the cough was very dry at
first. and we noticed that she had kind of gotten a little bit better. like four days after the tamiflu and then the incomes day she woke up and her fevers were spiking back up again to 104. and her cough was more crackley. and she complained of her side hurting. that is when we took her to the er the first time that she was diagnosed with the pneumonia. >> reporter: when her condition got worse she was transported from her localnz hospital near baltimore to children's national medical centre in washington. where she is recovering. her prognosis is good. dr. stockwell says parents should watch for these warning signs. >> they're trying to hard to breathe. those are concerning symptoms am symptoms where a child is very, very, very fussy almost to the point where you not able to hold them and console them would be a sign that may warrant more medical attention. a child who is not eating and drinking like they typically do, these children are at risk like with any infection for becoming dehydrated.
so those are the sort of things that we would like to put on parents radars to be on the watch for. but just reiterate, most of these infections can be very successfully managed at home. >> reporter: the cdc continues to say the best weapon against h h1n1 is vaccination. but the reality is there is very little available. even at a major medical center like children's there are only a few hundred doses of vaccine right now. to address the needs of 5,000 staff and tens of thousands 6 children who get in patient and outpatient care at the facility. billions of parents albright is waiting. she wants to have kay-lee and her two other children vaccinated against h1n1. but the kids pediatrician hasn't received his shipment yet. all three kids have had their seasonal flu shots. >> this changed all my life --. >> reporter: while the
family at one time feared the side effects from seasonal flu vaccine, they will have their two boys vaccinated against h1n1 as soon as possible. >> well, because now i see what a virus can do for them. >> reporter: and as far as the acostas are concerned, once is enough. >> lehrer: we posted answers to viewers questions about the h1n1 flu vaccine >> lehrer: we've posted answers to your questions about the h1n1 flu on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. finally tonight, writer michael chabon looks at manhood in a new collection of essays. jeffrey brown has our conversation. michael chabon has given a wide range of male characters in his fiction including one students and middle-aged academics in the mysteries of miss berg and wonder boy,
the yiddish policeman's union and two world war ii era comic book creators in the pulitzer prize-winning the amazing adventures of c -- cavalier and clay. his newest male character is himself in his first work of nonfiction, manhood for amateurs, a collection of essays examining what chabon calls the pleasures and regrets of a father, husband and son. michael chabon joins me now. welcome to you. >> thank you. >> reporter: one of the things, man mood for amateurs, one of the things had that comes through loud and clear is that this role, father, son, husband, for you and maybe for all of us, we're all amateurs. >> yeah, absolutely. i mean the idea of an amateur, i think one of the first things you think of when you heard the word is someone sort of bumbling, not necessarily doing the best job. maybe even making it up as you go along. but for me the word has other, deeper, richer senses
that are still part of our understanding of the word. it comes from a word t comes from a french word that means "a lover", an enthusiast, someone who is passionate about something. and it still sometimes has those connotations and we do have this idea of the amateur athlete. the person who is doing it for love, for love of the sport and not for money. and so i think for me, in both senses, that i don't really know what i am doing, i am just making it up as i'm going along am i keep making the same mistakes. but i also, it is the source of so much of my passion is being a father, being a husband, being a son, you know, being a brother. my relationships with the people around me as a man are the source of both my work and of all the pleasure that i get in life. >> reporter: you have seen a lot of these experiences going into your fiction which is how i and most readers know about you. but why turn it into essays, why explore it this way so personally? >> well, you can't use
everything in fiction. and some things -- some experiences are so rich that you can take advantage of them and mind them for your fiction and still have something left over to write about. in a more direct, personal, nonvision fiction way. other things might just strict me at a moment there might be an experience like my daughter's bat -- bar miss swra, in the aftermaths way very moved, full he mission and if hi just let that go, if i had saved that sense of how some day pain i will write an novel where the character's daughter has a bat mitzvah maybe i can use that, maybe not. i just wanted to capture what i was feeling and what it meant to me in that moment, the immediate aftermath. >> reporter: what comes through is how are you consumed, maybe, by this sense of fatherhood. and both being a son and the
idea of a father in an earlier generation and then a father now. and the countless ways that we know it can be messed up, right. you write early on, quote, a father is a man who fails every day. >> yeah. i mean just so much that you know, there are so many things that happen where you wish you could do it over because we take that over again, could i get another try. i mean sometimes you can. you know, a lot of the mistakes you make as a parent you do get a do-over. it's not lasting damage that has been done. you can make it up. but you know when i lie in bed at night thinking back over the day, a lot of the things i think about are things that i wish i had approached a little bit differently, hi done differently. i wish hi realized sooner that this was really important to my kid and i was kind much dismissive at first and didn't really take it seriously when it was clearly something truly important. >> reporter: and these things do come from, this is the stuff of your daily life.
i mean -- >> the recriminations, you bet, yeah. >> reporter: from playing with the kids to doubt and recriminations. >> yeah, yes, i mean i have my work which you know is its own lovely and unique source of doubt and recrimination too. and i spend plenty of time about that, my writing. and i'm prone to rumination and remorse and regret and all of those kinds of that come easily to me. maybe that's just endemic. as a writer you spejd a lot of time going -- you spend a lot of time going over the past. and past experiences. you often are finding ways to translate those into fiction and what you write might end up no resemblance to what really happened to you. but you kind of have to go over that ground. and in going over the ground you often find much to regret. >> reporter: there is clearly a humourous side to this but these are very serious subjects are you
taking on, some very serious, suicide and depression in one essay you talk about the suicide of david -- the writer, the depression that your own wife suffers from. and you write here in the end i could only make sense of these things on my own terms it, for my own purposes, to grasp and articulate to myself what my fiction has been saying to the world all along. the world like our heads was meant to be escaped from. now that's -- you don't write a whole lot about writing in this book. but that was one place that struck me about the real world, writing world, how they fit together. >> yes, well you know, that sense of being imprisoned in my own head. and i think it's something, i found it, when i went looking for things david foster wallace had said or written in the aftermath of his tragic suicide, i found this quote very quickly which said just what i had always felt myself. which is that you are trapped in your own head. you feel trapped. and you are look for a connection, a sense of
connection, a way out. to feel hike you have access to the lives and minds of the people around you. and one of the best ways we've invented for doing that as human beings is through literature and through writing and reading a novel gives you that sense of access to other people's lives that is impossible to get otherwise. but you know that sense of connection, that desire for connection that animates our lives as readers, i think it manity -- animates our lives in other respects too. you search for that connection in a family. you search for it as a fan, i write in this book a lot about fandom and sort of that lonely person who loves something and just looks for other people that live it to to just connect with. >> a lot of readers myself included note that you seem to have tried out different genres, as the private detective and the young person's novel, the coming of age. i guess you could look at this as another kind of
genre, that personal essay. but i'm wondering is that a strategy for you as a writer is this -- are these things come up organically as it help on their own. >> i think it is my experience as a reader. as a reader i love all kinds of fiction. all kinds of literature. i love mystery, science fiction. i love the most kind of modernist literature. my taste is very wide-ranging and at first i had a sense that you hamper my writing, i feel like if i was only allowed to write a certain kind of semi realistic mainstream kind of fiction. and as i have gone along i started realizing but i like to read so many different kinds of things. why can't a write more different kinds of things and it has been liberating for me. and fun. >> all right. so this manhood thing you expect to go professional at some point. >> no, i think i will be a lifelong amateur.
>> reporter: the book is "man toad -- manhood for amateurs" michael chabon, thank you for talking with us. >> i enjoyed it, thank you very much. >> lehrer: chabon reads an excerpt from his novel on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. and an online-only feature tonight: a look at where government stimulus money is being spent. on our patchwork nation map, you can see which communities are benefiting, and which are not. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day. at least 14 u.s. troops and civilians were killed in helicopter crashes in afghanistan. iraqi troops ramped up security across baghdad, a day after two suicide truck bombings killed at least 155 people. and in washington, senate majority leader reid announced the senate will debate a health care bill that includes a public option, but lets states decide to opt out.
and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.